Saudi aid to Arab Spring countries $3.7 bn: IMF

Oil-rich Saudi Arabia has distributed $3.7 billion in aid to countries touched by the Arab Spring, most of it to Egypt and Jordan, a report by the International Monetary Fund showed Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia, the Arab world's wealthiest country, has pledged nearly $17.9 billion in support for fellow Arabs since the pro-democracy revolt erupted in Tunisia in January 2010 and spread throughout the region, toppling and shaking authoritarian governments.

Themselves unnerved by the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and neighboring Bahrain and Yemen, Riyadh promised key allies Cairo $4 billion, Bahrain and Oman $5.0 billion, Yemen $3.6 billion and Jordan $2.65 billion.

It also pledged $750 million to Tunisia, $1.25 billion to Morocco and $340 million to the West Bank and Gaza.

But most of the aid remains to be distributed, the IMF said in an annual report on the Saudi economy.

The IMF praised Riyadh for having provided "important support to the global economy during a period of high uncertainty, including through its actions in stabilizing the global oil market."

"Spillovers from higher growth and fiscal spending, together with increased financial assistance, have positively impacted the region," the IMF said.

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